NATO urges Russia to rescind decision to suspend CFE treaty

Updated: 2007-12-13 14:38

"NATO Allies will carefully monitor the Russian Federation's compliance with its Treaty obligations," it added.

NATO said that the Russian move is "disappointing" after the military alliance had worked intensively with other Treaty partners over the past months to try to resolve Moscow's concerns "constructively."

"In this regard, we have pursued a multifaceted dialogue to address all outstanding concerns" with the Russian side, most recently during the NATO-Russia Council Ministerial meeting on December 7, said the statement.

While reaffirming their right to take any steps provided for by the Treaty and international law, NATO allies said they want to resolve the current impasse and preserve the benefits of this landmark Treaty, it added.

In the statement issued on Wednesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia could rejoin the treaty shortly after NATO countries ratify the adapted version of the CFE treaty, signed on November 19, 1999, by all NATO countries except Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovenia.

The original CFE treaty was signed in 1990 by 16 NATO countries and six Warsaw Pact members. The document aims to maintain the military balance in Europe by setting equal limits for each signatory on five categories of conventional weapons - battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, artillery pieces, combat aircraft and attack helicopters.

The treaty, which came into force on November 9, 1992, also lays down measures to enhance confidence-building, transparency and cooperation between member states.

Russia had threatened several times to withdraw from the CFE amid tensions with the United States over US plans to install a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Russia and the United States failed to reach any agreement on missile defense in Europe at talks in the "two-plus-two" format that were joined by senior officials of both sides in Moscow in October. Russia refused to give in to US missile defense and CFE demands.

Putin signed a decree last July on suspending Russia's participation in the treaty. The decree was subsequently approved by both houses of Russia's parliament.

On November 30, Putin signed the federal law temporarily suspending Moscow's obligations to the treaty, which took effect on Wednesday.

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